Still image from Grant Shapps' 'Great British Railways Headquarters Competition' video. The colours in the image are dark, suggesting he is having a suspicious phone call on a railway platform.
While everyone’s talking about the Tory leadership contest and RMT industrial action, we’re about to lose our last chance to save Britain’s railway from its most dangerous privatisation project yet.
A government consultation on the new public body Great British Railways– including major changes to legislation – is about to be rushed through without any public awareness. It’s a key part of the government’s secret plan to cut billions in public spending, including a massive destaffing project allegedly involving the closure of every ticket office in England.
Today, we’ve demanded that Grant Shapps extends the 4th August deadline and starts publicly promoting the consultation – in a joint letter with campaign group Bring Back British Rail. Currently, the consultation breaches several areas of the government’s code of practice; so if he refuses, the Williams-Shapps Plan will lose all credibility with the public.
However, these are only the first of the weaknesses in the consultation. The private rail industry has been in backroom talks with the government for months; making vital decisions on all the most important areas affecting passengers. Most of these areas – such as timetabling, fares, and accessibility – have been exempted from the consultation (2.14) and are being negotiated as part of a market engagement process with train companies. They are now set to be decided without any public input whatsoever.